New initiatives in the fight against accuracy by the Ministry of Development through e – Consumers

New initiatives in the fight against her will announce it by the end of the week. As the market estimates, according to statements made in the RES-APM, the measures implemented (p.p. based on the new framework brought by the Ministry of Development against accuracy) in the last 10 days have been operating both stabilising for prices and discouraging for revaluations and, gradually, leading to the necessary reductions on the shelf for products necessary for the living of the household. However, as has been pointed out, many times, the development ministry’s political leadership, the fight against accuracy, does not stop. On the occasion of the celebration of the World Consumer Day, on March 15th, according to APR-APR, there are expected to be announcements in the context of strengthening the consumer’s role in the fight against accuracy. The changes planned concern the e-Consumer Market Observatory platform. The platform is upgraded, becomes more usable and flexible and gives greater importance to electronic supermarkets. Consumers are reportedly able to control 3,000 to 3,500 product codes, new and up-to-date, while the process of integration as far as possible, more codes do not stop. However, for the next period, in the context of the increase in codes, emphasis is placed on the possibility to read them directly from the web site of each eshop, i.e. the process of depositing invoices will not be necessary as the bar code will be used. In this context, directly, the necessary ministerial decision will be adopted on the mandatory suspension of barcode codes from all eshops, whether they are grocery, or only electronic stores etc. in the context of transparency and automation of data collection. In addition, the new e-consumer will have the possibility to compare the basket and find the cheapest chain, which is closest to it, as well as the possibility of proposing separate markets in more than one chain for even greater savings. After upgrading the application, a promotional campaign will be launched to inform consumers of the benefits they can have from its use and eventually achieve its purpose as a handy and reliable tool in the price comparison process. It is recalled that this platform, in the hands of the consumer, is already a valuable tool for complaints where it detects violations, abuses and unfair behaviour. At the same time, particular importance is attached to the strengthening of the consumer movement and the process of clarifying the data of consumer organisations kept on the Consumer Association Register (M.E.K.), their obligations for kept books, the data needed to register them, the obligations to update their data and to delete them from the Register has already begun. A procedure envisaged to be completed by 30 April 2024. New price cuts are coming As far as prices are concerned, the government’s measures to deal with accuracy have been fully implemented since the beginning of the month and, as Minister of Development Costas Skrekas has said, already the mid-term price cuts, in particular products, have moved around 15%. “We had de-escalation of prices in household cleaners, detergents, personal hygiene products, baby diapers, infant milk, in 3,912 codes,” said the Minister recently and completed: “We are not complacent, nor say we solved the problem of accuracy, it is a constant battle against accuracy, but Greece has taken most, the most drastic measures to address the problem.” At the same wavelength the director-general IELKA, Lefteris Kyosses, speaking to the APE-AME, stresses the state has moved on to a number of legislation aimed at limiting inflationary pressures, especially in the categories of grocery products. ‘In the last 3.5 years over 25 legislative instruments (laws or ministerial decisions) have been recorded which regulate the market in one way or another, such as the household basket, products with a permanent price reduction, the ceiling on the gross profit margin and now the new measures against offers’ he notes. Focusing on the measures against tenders, Mr. Kyosses stresses that the latter regulation concerns two measures aimed at reducing offers, promotional actions and discounts, considering that this would lead to a reduction in the initial prices of products. “Surely it is not clear whether the final prices of products will be affected and generally the final cost of consumers, because what the consumer ultimately cares about is how his income is affected,” he notes. The first measure concerns the 30% reduction in discounts. By regulating the measure, the 50% discount to which the supplier went to the supermarket should be reduced by 30% and the price list price dropped to 15%. This measure may reduce the initial prices of the products, but may work discouragingly for businesses to continue with the same intensity the promotional actions. The second measure concerns the ban on suppliers who make valuations, to implement promotional actions for three months in those products in which their price has increased. According to Mr Kyossé, this measure is also expected to act discouragingly in the valuations, but also in the intensity of the promotional actions, while at the same time it may lead to other changes in the market, e.g. if a product does not have satisfactory sales the company will not have a tool to correct the situation, or possibly lead to greater price increases in order to compensate for the possibility of increasing sales volumes through offers. Asked to comment on the results of the new anti-precision measures by the President of the Association of Small and Medium Super Markets, Giannis Pilidis, speaking to the APE-APE, points out that, as is apparent from the new price lists concerning personal care products, detergents and home care products, prices are lower. The main price lists were reduced from 5 to 10% to 40% in certain products. On average they decreased by 20%. As far as infant foods are concerned, they have been reduced from 5% to 15%. Focusing on the offers he notes on personal care products, detergents and home care products decreased prices on the new price lists but all companies did not maintain the same offers resulting in variations that the consumer will spot on the shelf. In any case, he admits that “the majority of businesses of personal care products, detergents and home care products have reduced their price lists. However, the consumer does not care whether the price lists have been reduced but the final price on the shelf.” The president of the Association of Small and Medium Super Markets speaking to the APR-APM welcomes this measure by noting that it is what the market wanted. “It’s a measure we’ve been asking for for years. It is in the positive direction and we believe it will work over time,” he said. It is noted that in Greece the practice of promotional actions is particularly intense and fully integrated in consumer shopping behaviour. According to the most recent IELKA survey, the average savings of the consumer audience from the bids in 2023 amounted to 13% of total expenditure, a fixed rate compared to previous years, but increased compared to the previous decade. In practice, the total value of these actions corresponds on average to a benefit close to EUR 400 per year, due to the increase in household expenditure due to inflationary pressures. Overall the average savings per household are estimated at over EUR 3,000 over the last 8 years, while the total value given in 10 years exceeds EUR 12 billion. ‘After all, as recorded in the same survey, the majority of consumers at 52% believe that offers and discounts at the stores of the organised retail trade help them to deal with the price increases. Characteristic is that while in 2017 74% of respondents were pursuing offers and discounts at the supermarket, this figure in 2021 had been set at just 58% to increase in 2023 to 63%. This development reflects the need for consumers at this time to save money. 43% of the public states that it prefers more offers than low prices, i.e. it seems that consumers need both low prices and discount actions. This 43% of the audience considers that through the search and selection of offers and discounts it has the potential for both greater savings and for adapting to their own individualised needs of saving money. On the other hand, however, an important part of consumers may not have the energy or time to make full use of discount actions and therefore prefers lower prices more. The measure which the consumer public considers will help to deal with accuracy is the reduction in VAT on basic items from 81% of the public. It is a measure that will certainly bring about an improvement in the price level, but certainly at budgetary cost.